‘Despite great strength’ Psalm 33.17 VOTD

“A horse disappoints those who trust in it for victory; despite its great strength, it cannot deliver.”

Psalm 33.17

Man trusts in many things other than God, but they all ultimately fail.

In the place of “horse,” what might be appropriate for people today?

#VOTD #strength #victory

The shallow nature conscious of its weakness and…

The shallow nature, conscious of its weakness and insufficiency, is always trying to advertise itself and make sure of its being appreciated. The strong nature, conscious of its strength, is willing to wait and let its work be made manifest in due time. Indeed, the truest natures are so free from all self-consciousness and self-consideration that their object is not to be appreciated, understood or recompensed but to accomplish their true mission and fulfill the real work of life.

A.B. Bruce

#freedom, #strength

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(#164) The Proverbs of Solomon 24:3-6-Wisdom Builds Houses and Lives

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 24:3-6: “Through wisdom a house is built, And by understanding it is established; By knowledge the rooms are filled With all precious and pleasant riches. A wise man is strong, Yes, a man of knowledge increases strength; For by wise counsel you will wage your own war, And in a multitude of counselors there is safety.”

Building a house is an illustration of applied wisdom: the dream is expressed, detailed plans are made and then followed. Every house follows this procedure, therefore every house is an expression of wisdom. “For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God” (Hebrews 3:4). “Wisdom” shows the thoughtfulness of the plan; “understanding” shows the application to the materials; “knowledge” completes the details of the plan in building a house.

When wisdom is applied to life, itself, it’s a strengthening exercise that makes one “strong.” A truly “wise” person first “knows” what should be the right course of action; second, realizes his/her personal, individual responsibility in “war;” third, knows to gather various opinions from “counselors” (advisors) to see if there may be other factors to consider.

“Knowledge” gives “strength” to overcome many situations when “fools” don’t know what to do: “They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed” (1 Peter 2:8).

“War” should not always just be associated with violent conflict between nations, but also with the spiritual “war” each one of us must fight: “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:11-12).

It does no good to just follow the majority opinion, for the majority is not always right, as those who recommended sailing against the inspired prophetical advisory of Paul (Acts 27:9-21) found out!

Another proverb teaches this same principle: “If you faint in the day of adversity, Your strength is small” (Proverbs 24:10).

A wise man/woman will build a strong house, preparing for the storms of life by obeying the wisdom of Jesus Christ (Matthew 7:24-27).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #houses, #knowledge, #life, #lives, #proverbs, #strength, #strong, #understanding, #wisdom

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(#142) The Proverbs of Solomon 19:22-Be A Man, Son

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 19:22: “What is desired in a man is kindness, And a poor man is better than a liar.”

“Kindness” is evenness of temperament, constant return of goodness, consideration of others. It is a universally-recognized, timeless, and desirable, trait in humanity. “Love is kind” (1 Corinthians 13:4), and uninspired people see its wisdom: “It’s nice to be important, it’s more important to be nice” (Anon); “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted” (Aesop); “Forget injuries, never forget kindnesses” (Confucius); “Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see” (Mark Twain); “A kind word is like a Spring day” (Russian proverb); “Kindness, like a boomerang, always returns” (Anon).

It is a man-trait, especially, because it takes a real man to be strong enough to return good for evil. “See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all” (1 Thessalonians 5:15). Kindness is a show of strength, but often mistaken for weakness. Regardless of who persecuted Jesus Christ, or how, He was more of a man than they, “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness–by whose stripes you were healed” (1 Peter 2:21-24).

“A poor man is better than a liar” shows that poverty should not be used as an excuse for immorality. “Better is the poor who walks in his integrity Than one perverse in his ways, though he be rich” (Proverbs 28:6).

The God of the Israelites was: “Ready to pardon, Gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, Abundant in kindness, And did not forsake them” (Nehemiah 9:17). Jesus Christ based one of His best-known commandments upon this characteristic of God: “But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil” (Luke 6:35). Christians should develop the same characteristic: “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do” (Colossians 3:12-13).

God’s kindness extended through Jesus Christ should touch a sinner’s heart (Titus 3:3-4), and the sinner should kindly return toward God (Acts 16:22-34). “Be a man, Son,” obey the Gospel today (Mark 16:16), and make this a kinder world!

Cruel words can make us cry, but so can deeds of kindness.

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #evil, #kindness, #man, #nice, #proverbs, #strength, #unthankful

Run, do not walk

#freedom, #psalms, #strength, #word-of-god

Re: Day 18 — Psalm 1:4

I have said several times, and recently, somewhere, that the church appears, from a human standpoint, as a fragile thing, on the verge of being blown away at any moment by the slightest wind. Both saints and the good works of the kingdom seem to exist on the precipice of destruction.

This is true, however, not of God’s people, who show their metal under trials and persecutions, but of the wicked. So says the psalmist.

Not so with the wicked! Instead they are like wind-driven chaff.
Psalm 1:4 NET

With a puff, the wicked are gone. The righteous are the stable ones, and the difference is attitude toward God’s law. The stabilizer is laser focus on the word of God.

Perhaps those churches who have nice buildings, full-time staff with nice titles, elders with years of experience, and a long, proud history may not feel the tentativeness in the work that I feel, where we move from place to place, have no one working full-time, lack qualified men to serve as elders, and started yesterday, relatively speaking, in this effort.

We feel how the work suffers when someone turns from the Way, when the seed falls on rocky soil, when persecution thins the ranks, when sickness lays low a saint and death take precious friends. (Does anyone else feel this?)

Yet, still, for all the apparent weakness and the tenuousness of our efforts and our very lives, we are not the ones to be swept away by the elements. After the storm, we still stand. Gone are the wicked. Because they pretend strength by their own power, but we hold to the Lord.

So will we hold until the end.

#power, #psalms, #righteous, #strength, #wicked

What would I say?

“Do not, Lord, hold this sin against them.” The words of Stephen, as he was being pelted with stones, death stones we can call them. In my fifty years, and certainly in my twenty-seven years as a Christian, I have had some difficulty appreciating these words. Stephen knew that has he stood before the council (Acts 6:12) he had little opportunity for a fair “trial” to actuated. Yet, he stood there fully prepared for the verdict that, I imagine, he knew was against him already. He stood there looking out over the ones who would judge him unfairly. He stood there looking at the High Priest, and when the High Priest had bidden him, Stephen speaks. He spoke about those things “commonly believed” (Acts 7:1-50) and then he spoke about that which they dared not believe (Acts 7:51-53). This sent them into a rage and, in their rage, they saw to it that whatever pretense of fairness they were supposed to have was stripped away and exposed for what it was, but an ugly crowd with much hate in their heart for the one who died for them.

Stephen did not die for them, but he had on his lips the very words of our Lord when he said, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” (Acts 7:60). What would I say if in that position? Well, I am not sure; I am sure, however, that Stephen’s strength (as I interpret it) is something that I am still working on to strengthen in myself.

#stephen, #strength